Tag - litigation ( 13 )

News | UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai launches FOAA Online! – a web-based collection of legal arguments related to assembly and association rights

Apr 28 2017

NAIROBI – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai today announced the launch of FOAA Online!, a web-based legal research tool billed as the world’s most user-friendly compilation of legal arguments on assembly and association rights. The ready-made legal arguments, which are based on international law, standards and principles, will assist lawyers, activists and judges involved in freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association (FOAA) cases to uphold the exercise of these rights. FOAA Online! – which is available at http://freeassembly.net/foaa-online – is initially being launched with limited content for beta testing. Additional content will be added regularly, with the complete research tool available expected to be available in late June 2017. The tool is organized by thematic topics and sub-questions in order to direct users as straightforwardly as possible to relevant legal arguments. The set-up allows users to link the facts and incidents in their cases to pertinent legal questions. Themes and questions are focused on the most widespread issues experienced by those exercising their assembly and association rights around the globe. The idea for FOAA Online! grew out of the Special Rapporteur’s litigation project, which was started in 2014 to advance the rights to freedom of peaceful... Continue reading →

News | Zimbabwe: Kiai intervenes in African Commission case alleging suppression of WOZA’s assembly rights

Apr 28 2017

BANJUL/NAIROBI – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has filed an amicus curiae brief before the African Commission’s top human rights body, in a case concerning peaceful assembly rights in Zimbabwe. The case, Jenifer Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) v. The Republic of Zimbabwe, was originally filed before the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in 2013. The applicants allege that Zimbabwean authorities have systematically suppressed their ability to engage in peaceful protest and public demonstrations through a pattern of threats, harassment, physical abuse and torture, disproportionate and excessive use of force, illegal dispersals as well as arbitrary arrests and detentions. The State argues that it only took actions in response to failures to respect laws of general application such as the failure to comply with prior notification requirements. The Special Rapporteur’s brief – which was filed on April 28 – does not take a position on the facts of the case, but instead outlines relevant regional and international law, norms and standards on the right to peaceful assembly. Specifically, it examines (1) notification and authorization requirements; (2) sanctioning non-notification or peaceful participation in an assembly – clarifying that there is... Continue reading →

News | South Africa Gatherings Act imposes ‘illegitimate’ restrictions on assemblies, Special Rapporteur tells court

Apr 10 2017

NAIROBI/CAPE TOWN – The notification provisions of South Africa’s Gatherings Act constitute “illegitimate” restrictions on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, according to a brief filed by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai before a court in Cape Town. The amicus curiae brief was filed on 31 March 2017 in the appeal of Phumeza Mlungwana, et. al vs. the State, which concerns the constitutionality of section 12(1)(a) of the Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993. The act imposes criminal sanctions on any person who convenes a gathering of more than 15 people without notifying the relevant authority. Sanctions can also be imposed for “inadequate” notification. The case arose from a peaceful protest at the Cape Town Civic Centre on 11 September 2013. Police arrested 21 people and charged them under section 12(1)(a) of the Gatherings Act for convening a gathering without providing notice to the relevant municipal authority. The 10 individuals who filed the appeal were convicted on 11 February 2015. In his brief, the Special Rapporteur notes that State authorities are permitted to request notification for assemblies in order to fulfill their positive obligation to facilitate such assemblies. But this should not be construed as a permission requirement, he added. Thus, the imposition of... Continue reading →

News | Authorities should not interfere with internal affairs of associations, Kiai tells African Court in Rwanda case

Jan 06 2017

NAIROBI/ARUSHA – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has filed an amicus curiae brief before Africa’s top human rights court stating that authorities which interfere with the internal affairs of associations violate the international right to freedom of association. The brief was filed in the case of Laurent Munyandilikirwa versus The Republic of Rwanda, which concerns the alleged government-supported takeover in 2013-14 of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR), one of Rwanda’s most prominent and outspoken human rights organizations at the time. The case is currently pending before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania. In July 2013, a group of LIPRODHOR members met in violation of the organization’s by-laws and voted in a new board, ousting the NGO’s previous leadership. The ousted board challenged the change in leadership via LIPRODHOR’s internal dispute resolution process, which ruled in their favor. Despite this, the Rwanda Governance Board – the government body that regulates NGOs in the country – moved rapidly to recognize the new board. Government authorities then doubled down by preventing members of the old board from conducting a human rights training in 2013, and from meeting to discuss the status of LIPRODHOR... Continue reading →

News | Brazil: Kiai writes court after historic decision on protest management suspended pending appeal

Nov 09 2016

(Português) NAIROBI - Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has written to the Justice Tribunal of São Paulo in Brazil about the recent decision – and subsequent suspension pending appeal – in civil public action case No. 1016019-17.2014.8.26.0053, Public Defender of the State of São Paulo versus the State of São Paulo, which deals with police management of protests. A local Court decision issued last week had instructed Military Police to develop a police plan for action at demonstrations, a development which Kiai hailed. The decision was suspended by the President of the Court on Nov. 7, however, pending appeal. The President said the exceptional measure was necessary because maintaining the decision would “result in serious injuries to public order and security because it impedes regular police activities." Kiai, who is the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said in his letter that he was disappointed to learn of the suspension, as he welcomed the initial decision’s approach and praised the decision for its focus on key details of assembly management. (The original decision can be found here in Portuguese) “While I have general reservations on the role to play by Military Police instead of civil authorities in the management of assemblies... Continue reading →

News | Brasil: Relator Especial escreve à Corte após suspensão, ainda passível de recurso, de decisão histórica sobre gestão de protestos

Nov 09 2016

(English) NAIROBI - O Relator Especial Maina Kiai escreveu ao Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo, no Brasil, sobre a recente decisão - e subsequente suspensão passível de recurso - na ação civil pública no 1016019-17.2014.8.26.0053, Defensoria Pública do Estado de São Paulo versus Estado de São Paulo – um caso envolvendo a gestão policial de protestos. Na semana passada, um tribunal de primeira instância instruiu a Polícia Militar a desenvolver um plano de ação policial em protestos, um resultado que Kiai saudou. A decisão foi suspensa pelo presidente da Corte no dia 7/11, em determinação ainda passível de recurso. O presidente disse que a medida excepcional foi necessária porque a manutenção da sentença anterior "ocasionará grave lesão à ordem e segurança públicas, pois cria embaraços à regular atividade policial". Kiai, que é Relator Especial sobre a liberdade de reunião e associação pacífica, afirmou em sua carta estar desapontado pela notícia da suspensão, já que havia saudado a linha da decisão anterior e elogiado a sentença por seu foco em detalhes centrais na gestão de manifestações. (A decisão original pode ser consultada aqui). “Mesmo que eu tenha reservas, de forma geral, com o papel desempenhado pela Polícia Militar ao invés de... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts urge U.S. court to hear activist’s claims in surveillance case against Ethiopia

Nov 03 2016

IRVINE/NAIROBI/PARIS – A group of United Nations human rights experts is urging a U.S. appeals court to grant an Ethiopian American activist the right to sue the Government of Ethiopia for secretly monitoring his online activity for almost five months. The Court’s decision on whether it will hear the activist’s claims will have major repercussions for the ability of individuals to seek redress for human rights violations in domestic courts. Amici Curiae Brief for Appellant Kidane Motion for Leave to File Amici Curiae Brief The activist, who uses the pseudonym “Kidane” in order to protect himself and his family, was born in Ethiopia and granted asylum in the United States in the early 1990s. He currently lives in Maryland and is now an American citizen, but he continues to support members of Ethiopia’s democratic opposition movement. In 2012, Ethiopia reportedly infected Kidane’s computer with malware and, from October 2012 to March 2013, secretly intercepted and recorded his online activities, including his Skype calls, e-mails and web-browsing history. These allegations are part of broader trend of digital attacks targeting human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other vulnerable groups, both in Ethiopia and abroad. The group of experts – UN Special Rapporteurs David... Continue reading →

News | “Reclaiming civic space through U.N. supported litigation” – commentary by the Special Rapporteur in Sur 22

Feb 02 2016

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has authored a piece on his mandate's litigation project for the latest edition of Sur, the international journal of human rights journal published by Conectas. The piece appears in Sur issue 22, and gives an overview of the litigation project and the cases it has handled thus far. Launched in 2014, the litigation project focuses on providing technical assistance and advisory services for public interest litigation on assembly and association issues. The aim of the project is to increase such litigation and encourage the application of international law norms at the domestic level. The Special Rapporteur has also submitted three amicus briefs in cases relevant to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. "Litigation does present advantages unique among rights-promotion tools," Kiai writes in the Sur piece. "When used in the right context, for example, it can ensure concrete remedies: accountability, compensation and some closure. Litigation can also shine a light on repression by forcing the government to address issues head-on in a public setting, whether through written procedures or open hearings. Independent courts and strong rulings can provide backing for activists, halt abuses and command societal change." The essay provides an in-depth... Continue reading →

News | The Assembly and Association Briefing, Vol. 2, No. 8 (Issue 17) – November-December 2015

Dec 04 2015

Issue No. 17 of the Assembly and Association Briefing, the newsletter of Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. In this issue: • UN experts warn that Brazil anti-terrorism law may threaten fundamental freedoms • Kiai urges European Court to establish “clear and strong standards” on assembly rights • Burundi: Experts urge Security Council to follow resolution with ‘concrete’ steps • Bangladesh NGOs: Kiai warns against proposed funding bill • Special Rapporteur urges Chile to scrap proposed ‘identity check’ bill • High time to protect sexual and reproductive rights defenders in the Americas • Civil society needs ‘new tactics’ to reverse shrinking space, Special Rapporteur tells Asia-Pacific activists in Seoul • Background reports compare laws on businesses and CSOs in 34 states • Freedom of association and assembly: By the numbers • Special Rapporteur news in brief: November-December 2015 • World briefing: Freedom of assembly and association in the news For a link to the newsletter, click on the image at right or click here (4.1MB file) or here (6.8MB full resolution file). To subscribe to our newsletter, please drop us a line at info@freeassembly.net with the subject line... Continue reading →

News | México – Relator especial intercede en caso de acción de inconstitucionalidad por leyes anti protesta

Aug 24 2015

(Inglés) NAIROBI/MEXICO CITY - El Relator Especial Maina Kiai presentó un amicus curiae ante la Suprema Corte de la Nación mexicana argumentando que tres de las normas contenidas en la Ley de Movilidad del Distrito Federal imponen restricciones ilegítimas al derecho a la libertad de reunión pacífica. El documento, que fue entregado el 21 de agosto de 2015, es el segundo que se presenta en el marco del proyecto de expertos de Naciones Unidas para la promoción del derecho de libertad de reunión pacífica y asociación a través del uso del litigio a nivel nacional y regional. El primer documento de este tipo se presentó ante la Corte Constitucional de Bolivia en mayo, del cual se espera una resolución pronto. El documento entregado por el Relator Especial en México fue sometido en el contexto de un caso en el que se discutirá la constitucionalidad de los artículos 212, 213 y 214 de la Ley de Movilidad del Distrito Federal. Kiai concluye que las tres normas no cumplen con “las obligaciones del Estado y las condiciones para las restricciones legítimas del derecho a la reunión pacífica de acuerdo con los estándares y principios de derecho internacional.” El artículo 212, por ejemplo, requiere que los organizadores de una manifestación notifiquen 48 horas antes de que se lleve a... Continue reading →